If the hallways of Dwight Rich Middle School look a bit more crowded than usual, it's because they are. Today is Count Day, and the assignment for every mid-Michigan school district is to get each chair in every class room filled.
"We count the number of students that attend and there is a state formula that is used to determine the amount of money based on the amount of students," Dwight Rich Principal Linda Angel-Weinberg says.
7,835 dollars per student to be precise, money that every school system needs in a bad way.
"If they don't have the money it's going to trickle down into the classroom, you just can't get the materials you need, you can't get them on time," teacher Ray Freeze says.
And since thousands of dollars are riding on the attendance of students, schools in the area like Dwight Rich are pulling out all the stops to get students to class, including allowing the kids to break school policy.
"We usually wear polo shirts and khaki pants," student Rechelle Smith says.
But, today the students didn't have to.
"We have students wearing jeans, they can dress with the school of Lansing dress code, which gives them a little flexibility to show their individualism," Weinberg says.
And that's not where the school stops. Principal Weinberg is making calls to try to figure out where the students with unexcused absences are, the calls are completely necessary says Weinberg because of the ramifications the district could see from low attendance.
"If across the district we don't have enough students there will be staffing cuts," Weinberg says.
And staffing cuts are something Weinberg says her school can't afford.